The Past & Future of Island Good
How Island Good Started
It all started in 2013 when the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) was hosting a luncheon and decided to serve only foods made or grown in the Vancouver Island region. A board member was given a budget and tasked with putting together a meal for the event. What seemed like a simple task, turned into a laborious scavenger hunt as the VIEA shopper combed the shelves and display cases of local grocery stores searching for Island-made products. The problem wasn’t a lack of Island-made products, quite the opposite in fact. Local grocery stores were full of local products, but a great deal of diligence and label reading was required to identify those that were made on the Island. This struggle seeded an idea for an initiative focused on distinguishing and promoting products made on Vancouver Island.
In 2014, when VIEA was producing the first annual ‘State of the Island’ Economic Report, one statistic stood out: the Canadian economy at the time was comprised of 70% services and 30% goods, whereas the Island economy was 80% services and 20% goods. Knowing that Vancouver Island has a strong international reputation as a wonderful place to live and visit, VIEA identified a need for a project raise local and international awareness of Island products. Concepts for a ‘Made on Vancouver Island’ brand were tested with delegates at VIEA’s annual Economic Summit in 2016 and 2017.
Island Good Pilot Project
In 2018, VIEA launched the 6-month Island Good pilot project in 45 grocery stores across the Vancouver Island region with retail partners including Country Grocer, 49th Parallel Grocery, Quality Foods, and Thrifty Foods. The pilot project started with Island-made food and beverage products already carried in the stores of major grocery retailers across the Island. The food sector was an easily understood starting point for Island Good, allowing us to form important retail partnerships while proving the value of the Island Good initiative. During those 6 months, the Island Good pilot project achieved an average sales lift of 16.4% for Island Good products – an impact that was far beyond our wildest dreams for the early stages of the initiative.
Island Good is now available for any Vancouver Island product from potatoes to airplane parts. The pilot project taught us that Vancouver Island residents and visitors seek island-made products, and Island Good makes it measurably easier for consumers to find and purchase those products. Islanders demonstrate significant loyalty to businesses producing or carrying Island Good products, leading to sustained support for those businesses. The positive response to Island Good has been astounding. Consumer engagement has significantly increased with Island Good. It feels good to shop local, to know the sources of the products we purchase, to hear the stories behind their creation, and to feel satisfaction from connecting with and supporting local producers.
Beyond the Pilot
Since the pilot project, Island Good has been steadily growing! In 2019, a year after the tremendous success of the pilot project, sales of Island Good products were up 17.5% compared to 2018. In 2020, the sales increase for Island Good products was 37%. It seems there’s nowhere to go but up!
Island Good businesses now number in the hundreds, representing a diverse and incredible group of producers and retailers across the region. During this time, Island Good has hosted events and campaigns to raise the profile of Island producers. Island Good has also partnered with numerous municipalities, business associations, chambers of commerce, and tourism organizations across Vancouver Island to better support and meet the needs of local businesses.
In October of 2018, not long after the pilot project, VIEA made the commitment to have Island Good menus at their annual State of the Island Economic Summit. VIEA has upheld this commitment in the years since with the summit menus continuing to accrue praise.
In June of 2022, Island Good Days was officially proclaimed in 11 communities, with Island Good events taking place across Vancouver Island. As the crowning jewel of Island Good Days, the first ever Island Good Market took place to resounding success! The indoor-outdoor market hosted over 40 Island Good vendors, with 1200 attendees coming to meet Island Good producers, purchase Island Good products, and enjoy live music, food, and activities.
The Future of Island Good is Bright!
As Island Good continues to grow, we look forward to hosting more events and continuing the success of current initiatives, as well as expanding Island Good into a tool that Island residents and visitors can utilize to find Island-made products, engage with the people that make those products, and, in doing so, experience the best of what the Island has to offer.
Vancouver Islanders want to support their communities by shopping and eating local. Because of Island Good, Island-made products are demonstrably easier to find – just look for the distinct and colourful Island Good messaging! Fundamentally, Island Good was created to increase awareness, demand, and sales for Island products. Which, in turn, leads to a strengthening of our Island community by reducing carbon footprints, increasing employment, improving food security, bolstering the Island economy, and forging lasting connections between producers and consumers.
It’s all good. Island Good!
2018 Pilot Project Partners
Our ultimate goal is to have every product from potatoes to airplane parts marked as Island Good.
And, we had to start somewhere… Food products seemed like an easy starting place and advocating for a point of sale pilot project to promote Island made products already carried in the stores of major grocery retailers seemed like the easiest starting point within the food product category. Thus, ‘Island Good’.
- Vancouver Island Economic Alliance
- Country Grocer
- Quality Foods
- Thrifty Foods
- 49th Parallel Grocery
- Island Coastal Economic Trust
- HotHouse Marketing
- Spark Strategic Group
- BC Salmon Farmers Association
- Vancouver Island Farm Products Inc.
- B&C Foods
- Paradise Island Foods
- Portofino European Bakery
Support Island Good
Experience the Island and Rural Islands through products made & grown in our region. Look for the logo to support Island businesses.
Join Island Good
Promote your products & strengthen your business by joining the Island Good Licensee Program.